Government urged to withdraw contract

G.N. Nagaraj, secretariat member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has suspected that large-scale irregularities and corruption might have taken place in the award of contract to Alsthom India Ltd., of foreign origin, which has been reportedly blacklisted by the World Bank, for setting up a thermal plant near Bidadi in Ramanagaram district.

Condemning the decision of the government in this regard, Mr. Nagaraj said that Energy Minister Shobha Karandlaje and other top-level officials might be involved in awarding the contract to a foreign company, even though Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL), a Union government undertaking and a pioneer in the field, had participated in the tender.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Nagaraj urged the State government to immediately withdraw the contract awarded to Alsthom India Ltd., and hand it over to BHEL

“The awarding of contract to a foreign company, despite the participation of BHEL in the tender process, prima facie gives room for suspicion. Ms. Karandlaje and top officials may be involved in all the irregularities and therefore, the contract should be immediately cancelled,” he reiterated. To a question, Mr. Nagaraj said that it was a common practice to study the background of a company that has bagged a contract, before entrusting any project to it. “It is true that the company that quotes the lowest price gets the contract, but in this case, owing to suspected involvement of the Energy Minister and others, it is apprehend that the cost estimates will be revised later, which in turn, may adversely affect the interests of the State and its people,” he said.

Stating that the political developments within the BJP were changing by the day, he said the administrative machinery of the State had been severely affected. “It appears that there is no government or governance in the State. Ministers have no control over the bureaucracy, and the administration has been severely affected,” he said.

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